Click on the following headlines for important news and information:
Arrival Of The Magnificent Seven July 1, 2013
YouTube footage: Please help stop the roundups! February 2010
Wild Horses Imperiled, Please help by clicking here... September 2009
First major wild horse roundup of summer proves deadly; critics claim Department of Interior’s public access restrictions censor truth about government wild horse program
Madeleine Pickens & wild horse coalition call for suspension of all summer roundups, full transparency in agency operations
Philanthropist and businesswoman Madeleine Pickens was joined today by the million-member ASPCA, the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, and many other organizations expressing their outrage over the deaths of at least seven mustangs in a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) roundup conducted Saturday in the Owyhee Complex in northeastern Nevada. The wild horses died of dehydration-related causes—including brain swelling, colic and acute water intoxication – as a result of being stampeded by helicopters for up to eight miles in 90+ degree desert heat.
In a sign on letter addressed to President Obama and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Mrs. Pickens and the groups also harshly criticized the agency for cracking down on public access to observe and videotape roundup operations. The advocates released footage of a BLM representative stating publicly that public video of a prior roundup caused the agency to have “a really hard time trying to explain what’s happening.”
“The BLM simply does not want the American people to see what its wrongheaded policies are doing to our mustangs,” said Mrs. Pickens. “The horrific deaths of Owyhee horses recall the tragedy earlier this year in Nevada’s Calico Complex, where over 100 wild horses lost their lives and dozens of mares spontaneously aborted their late term foals in another deadly roundup.”
“We are calling on the President and Secretary Salazar to immediately instruct the BLM to suspend all summer roundups to avoid a repeat of the tragedy at Owyhee,” Mrs. Pickens continued. “The entire wild horse program must be fundamentally reformed. America’s mustangs are still waiting for change.”
Over the next four months, the BLM intends to capture and remove 6,000 wild horse and burros from six Western states. At least half of these roundups are scheduled to take place in desert environments in the hot summer months. Public access to observe the roundup operations will be severely limited to a handful of staged opportunities, with broader access given to small number of handpicked “experts.”
The crackdown on public observation comes in the wake of public outrage and international media coverage of the Calico roundup, which ended in February. The controversy was fueled by release of photographs and video showing of wild horses, including young foals, heavily pregnant mares and older horses, being forcefully driven by helicopter out of the mountains of Nevada and into BLM trap pens.
“The BLM’s crackdown on public observation of roundup activities is unacceptable, and makes a mockery of President Obama’s stated commitment to open government and transparency in government operations,” added Suzanne Roy, Campaign Director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, whose grassroots efforts are endorsed by a coalition of more than 40 horse advocacy, animal welfare, conservation and historic preservation organizations.
Other coalition supporters signing the letter include Mrs. Pickens’ Saving America’s Mustangs Foundation, The Cloud Foundation, Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue, Return to Freedom, American Wild Horse Sanctuary, Animal Welfare Institute, and In Defense of Animals.
The BLM wild horse program has been harshly criticized for its lack of fiscal sustainability. The agency now stockpiles more wild horses in government holding pens and pastures (36,000+) than are left on the range (less than 33,000). The cost to taxpayers for this program is expected to exceed $70 million next fiscal year.
Wild horses comprise a small fraction of grazing animals on public lands, where they are outnumbered by livestock nearly 50 to 1.
Dear Friends: I know we are sending out a lot of information about the horrific wild mustang and burro roundups. This is a critical time for all of us to be heard. We won't be able to take back the damage that has been done by removing the wild horses and burros from our public lands. Please support our effort in ending these atrocities. If the horses and burros aren't near and dear to your hearts, then allowing the BLM to spend millions of our taxpayer dollars should be extremely upsetting to all of you. The helicopter pilot has been paid over 12 million dollars since 2000. Currently it's costing us $100,000 per day to keep already captured wild horses and burros in holding pens.
To the right is a YouTube video with footage and music by Mary Ann Kennedy (who has graciously allowed us to use her music in many of our videos). Please help stop the roundups, continue making the calls to President Obama and your representatives and ask to halt all round ups and to support the ROAM Act - HR 1018/ S 1579 (Restore Our American Mustang).
Have you ever seen a wild horse run free on the open range? What about a family of burros? What feelings were evoked within you? Can you imagine a day when all the open range lands are no longer dotted with free wild horses and burros?
My friends, that day has come.
Today less than 25,000 wild horses and less than 5,000 wild burros are running free on our public lands, the lowest number in history, and daily, more and more are being extracted from lands that were designated as their homes. My friends, a war is being waged on our free roaming horses and burros. Our wild horses and burros are being exterminated right before our eyes and it is apparent it won’t stop until all wild horses and burros are removed. We are faced with a horse holocaust. By Webster’s definition: hol’o-caust = 1. great destruction of life.
In 1971, Congress found and declared that wild free-roaming horses and burros were living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West, and enacted the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971. At that time there were 303 Herd Management Areas (HMA’s) designated for wild horses and burros; today there are less than 184, and the number of HMA’s is declining rapidly. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is in charge of managing wild horse and burro populations and claim that wild horses and burros are damaging the eco-system. The truth of the matter is that wild horses and burros are good for the eco-system. They travel up to 30 miles a day eating and drinking from many areas throughout their journey. They reseed the earth replenishing the natural flora allowing the wild grasses, weeds and flowers to replant themselves. Cattle, on the other hand, find their water hole and stand mainly in one area. Have you ever seen what a field looks like after a herd of cattle has stood by the water hole? What would the same water hole look like if horses had been there?
The truth is, pressure to remove wild horses and burros from public lands is coming from cattle ranchers and the cattle industry which use BLM land to run their cattle. You see, ranchers are charged less than $1.85 per month per head to graze their cattle on public lands that have been designated for wild horses and burros. More than 4.1 million domestic animals such as cows, sheep and goats graze on these lands; however, less than 25,000 wild horses and less than 5,000 wild burros today roam free. You might ask yourself, who is really competing for a place to stand?
Have you ever wondered what happens during a wild horse and burro round up?
Let me share. The wild herds are chased for miles and miles by helicopter. Sometimes the lead mare or the stallion is shot from the helicopter in order to confuse the herd. When a herd of wild horses and burros doesn’t have a leader, they are extremely disoriented and confused. These animals are then herded into portable chutes and transported hundreds of miles away to BLM holding facilities. Many times the babies (as young as 1-2 months old) are separated from their mothers, the mothers separated from the stallions and placed in various holding pens. The stallions are then gelded. The old and crippled supposedly are sent to Government sanctuaries around the country, the other horses and burros are put up for adoption and trucked from city to city across the US. Now, these wild animals have never seen a human or been touched by one. This is their reality. When put up for adoption, they are sold for $125 each. Some prices may vary. Anyone can adopt a wild horse or burro, even a person with little to no horse experience, let alone wild horse experience. When these horses arrive at their new home, many individuals do not have the proper horsemanship training and many of the horses end up in abusive situations and/or slaughter.
Do you think the managing of the wild horses and burro program is working?
The holding facilities are over-crowded, some of the horses and burros stand in holding pens in 110 degree heat and in the winter in below freezing weather, with no trees or shelter from the fierce weather.
The Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971 states – To require the protection, management, and control of wild free-roaming horses and burros on public lands. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled. That Congress finds and declares that wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West; that they contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people; and that these horses and burros are fast disappearing from the American scene. It is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death; and to accomplish this they are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands.
Do you think we are protecting America's wild horses and burros?
Additionally, the cost to run this program is astounding. Did you know it costs over $5,000 per horse to round them up and put them up for adoption? Friends, do you know who pays for this? Yes, we do. It is our taxpayer dollars that is funding this program.
Due to special interest groups (specifically the cattle industry, oil and mining industries), millions of taxapyer dollars are being wasted on wild horse and burro eradication. According to BLM officials, there is talk in Washington of a one time "sale" or "kill" authority to dispose of the thousands of wild horses and burros currently in holding facilities. For more information on the issue and ways to help log on to www.wildhorsepreservation.com and www.thepetitionsite.com.
The BLM and Burns suggest that there is an overpopulation of wild horses in our ten western states causing the massive capture of wild horses in the past three years (approximately 10,000 per year). All horses over the age of ten are sent directly to BLM sanctuaries where they are turned out on grass and also fed (not feedlots as suggested by Burn’s office).
The fact is this – wild horse and burro populations have been cut in half since the 1971 Act was passed to protect them. In 1971 the Act clearly states that wild horses and burros were fast disappearing from the American scene.
In November 2004, Senator Burns (R-Montana) quietly inserted a rider in the federal budget that lifted the ban on selling wild horses and burros for slaughter. This revision forces the BLM to sell "without limitation" every captured horse that is over 10 years old or any horse that has proven to be unadoptable (which could mean every wild horse and burro currently in BLM holding pens). This will affect over 8,400 horses currently in captivity and those that continue to be rounded up.
We are aiding in the disappearance of wild horses and burros, and if we don’t do something now, they will disappear forever!
- S. 576 sponsored by Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV)
Please write to Congress. You can locate your representative at www.house.gov
These bills will reverse the Burn’s amendment and restore the SAME protections afforded to wild horses and burros prior to the Burn’s amendment.
How you can stop the slaughter of more than 8,000 wild horses:
Write, E-mail and Call the following people and thank them for their support:
Also please write, call or fax to: